GUWAHATI: A tribal organisation in Nagaland has decided to boycott the upcoming state elections in protest against the Centre’s non-fulfillment of the demand for the creation of “Frontier Nagaland” state.
The decision was made by the influential Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO), the apex tribal organisation of eastern Nagaland which has six of the state’s 16 districts.
The political parties in the state have already stepped up their activities for the elections, due early next year.
“Seven tribal bodies, talk team and frontal organisations…resolved not to participate in any election process of the state and the Centre until and unless the Frontier Nagaland state is created as demanded by the people of eastern Nagaland…” the ENPO said in a statement.
Tuensang, Mon, Longleng, Kiphire, Noklak and Shamator are the six districts falling under eastern Nagaland which has altogether 20 of the state’s 60 Assembly seats. The tribal organisations demand that these six districts be carved out of Nagaland for the creation of Frontier Nagaland state.
The entire region was once Tuensang when it was a part of North-East Frontier Agency. It was attached to the Naga Hills district in 1957 and when Nagaland attained statehood in 1963, it became a part of the state.
The region has remained “underdeveloped” and “backward” for many years and the locals believe only the creation of a separate state could help ensure development here.
The ENPO’s decision on boycotting the polls followed the August 9 “public rallies” organised across the six districts to press for the Frontier Nagaland state demand.
In October last year, it had submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him, as well as Union Home Minister Amit Shah, to fulfil the demand early.
Even as the ENPO is demanding the creation of a state within the state, a contentious demand of rebel group NSCN-IM is the creation of a unified Naga homeland by slicing off the Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and integrating them with Nagaland. Each of these states has a sizeable Naga population.